Keep the Main Thing, The Main Thing

Meet Ben Aune: Director of Bands for Celina High School

Ben Aune attended L.D. Bell High School, obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, Texas and then acquired his Masters of Music in Winds from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He makes his home here in Celina with his wife Lindsey and their children: Anderson (7), Adaline (5), and Abraham (2).

It doesn’t take long to find out just exactly what makes Celina Band Director Ben Aune tick…it’s BAND! And you can’t have a conversation with him and not get excited about it too. He believes as much in band as he believes in any activity for young people.

Contrary to popular belief, band kids are not all cookie cutter stereotypes. There are so many types of kids that play music, and whether the differences are cultural, physical, or age related, playing music and being part of a band program crosses all barriers. In most cases, participating in band ends up being the longest and largest project students will ever work on. The main thing they learn is how to work with a huge group of people and create something amazing. It is a philosophy that serves musicians well and can be applied in the work force or any facet of life.

Through the process of creating music together, there’s a transformation in kids. Mr. Aune says, “Kids typically start off playing instruments very mechanically, but once they learn to surrender to the process, they suddenly leave that behind and focus on being musicians, on creating music. Band teaches fortitude and the rewards of sticking to a learning process that doesn’t always provide instant gratification but is ultimately a 12-year commitment. In life, no matter who you are, you will hit a deficiency, whether physical or mental that you will have to work through. It’s a reward that you can only experience by sticking with it. You have to see the commitment through to get all that you are supposed to from the experience.”

The 3 greatest reasons to join the band are:

1) It’s fun to play music with your friends.

2) It doesn’t matter if you are a cheerleader, an athlete, or an artist, you can have a home in band.

3) No matter what your background is or how different you think you are, every kid has a place where they belong.

What is Mr. Aune’s Motto? Always Keep the Main Thing, The Main Thing, and the main thing is the kids. He encourages them to focus on the main goal which is to get as good as you can get in the amount of time you have to do it. He tells his students the same words of wisdom that he tells his own children about being honest with themselves. “It’s important to teach kids to diagnose their own performances and to teach systems on how to practice and how to prepare by diagnosing themselves.” He believes that the best of the best attack their own weaknesses and fix them.

Mr. Aune took after his grandfather who was a WWII veteran turned musician and teacher. He tells the story of how his grandfather would get cigarettes as rations while on duty in France, and once the war was over, he decided to attend college. He found a passion for music after selling two packages of Lucky Strike cigarettes for opera tickets in Paris, and the rest is history. It was that performance that inspired him to study music and then teach it for 33 years.

It was his grandfather’s legacy, as well as his own experience in band, that helped him realize that he wanted to give kids the great experience that he had. He had wonderful music educators that he knew really cared about him and about music. He speaks openly about being grateful to his mentors and considers himself lucky to have been surrounded by music educators like Steve Madsen and John Alstrin.

When Benjamin Aune came on board as the Director of Bands in Celina, there were 31 kids on the roster. Today, just a little over a year later, there are 80! And someday soon, there will be students that become educators because they had a band director who saw something in them as musicians and who can openly say that they feel the exact same way about him.

Jodie Brownd
Jodie@CedarbrookMedia.com

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